In early February, Mark Stephen Shaw pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, attempting to import a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. These charges were the least of his concerns, the presiding judge said. On November 28, 2016, the Australia Post mail center in Greenfields, Australia, intercepted a package containing 14 grams of marijuana.
At the Mandurah Magistrates Court, the police explained that the intercepted package was labeled with Shaw’s name and home address. Police seized the package and executed a Misuse of Drugs Act search warrant for Shaw’s address the same day. At his house, officers found “three bongs, a set of scales, four grams of cannabis leaf and three grams of cannabis-infused wax.”
Police questioned the suspect shortly after his arrest. He explained that he ordered the 14 grams of marijuana “from the darknet.” He continued to explain that even the cannabis wax that police found came from the darknet—not only the package police intercepted that day.
And then again, in December 2016, police caught another package of marijuana headed through the Australia Post. This package—the second police intercepted—contained 28 grams of loose leaf marijuana. Shaw’s name and address appeared on the package once more. This type of routine interception fits a pattern of recent drug seizures in Australia. Lately, and especially after the introduction and announcement of Operation Hyperion, Australian police have grown increasingly adept at catching packs from darknet marketplaces.
In a recent bust in Australia, acting Australian Border Force Commander Craig Parker explained the commitment to DNM trafficking. “We are well aware of these websites and take any attempts to import illegal border controlled drugs very seriously,” Palmer said. “Working with our partner agencies, we will continue to target those people who think they can illegally purchase and import illicit goods online.”
The partner agencies he referenced were all part of Operation Hyperion. (The global DNM taskforce took many names and Australia used several; each agency may have used their own internal term—if one at all). Most often, though, in cases like this, the Australian Border Force and South Australian Border Force performed much of the heavy lifting. The Australian Federal Police and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, too, played a massive role in cross-country takedowns. However, court records made no mention of these agencies. Just the Australia Post.
Magistrate Anne Longden said the cannabis charges were the least of Shaw’s worries; he now faced charges in a Perth court. Possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute. She accepted that the man took steps to deal with his so-called drug problem and sentenced him according.
She ordered that Shaw pay a fine of $800. This number does not include court fees.